'I live in a city where young girls at the age of 12 have already became serial fornicators and cannot count the number of men they were intimate with. I live in a city where school children disvirgin themselves behind toilets on valentine’s day. I live in a city where young girls flood the street at night looking for men that would give them N500 to be intimate with them. I live in city where parents send their daughters out overseas to prostitute and send dollars down. I live in a city where government officials pick undergraduates from university car parks with coastal buses to wild sex parties. I live in a city where abortion is so common that even a chemist shop owner can perform abortion with just N2500.
These are your daughters, and this should worry you not Yerima's private matters. So ask me again why I support early child marriage and I will slap the Jinn out of you' - Senator Yerima.
I am hoping that this statement did not actually come out from the lips of Yerima. Cause that juicy sentence about ‘I live in a city where government officials pick undergraduates from university car parks with coastal buses to wild sex parties’ deserves further investigation. Don’t you agree? Who are these government officials? Is it that he knows of this abuse of government property and finance and says nothing about it? Is it that he knows about the amoral conduct of his fellow government officials and did not call them to order rather waited till this opportune moment when he can fling it in our faces with scorn?
Wait, he also lives in a society where 12 year olds are being sexually abused and he a lawmaker looks and walks away because it is okay?!!
Tell me again why our tax money is paying this man’s salaries???!!!
But let me not digress from the focus of my post.
I have been following the #ChildnotBride protests with interest. My emotions have ranged from ‘Our Senators have gone mad again type dismay’,
To logic ‘but Section 29, sub section 4b. (wonderful, I can now quote a subsection of our law!!) isn’t about childbrides is it? Yes, I can see how easy it is to extrapolate the loophole in this law to more dangerous even political ramifications. If marriage now confers adult reasoning on a girlbride, reasoning enough to make decisions as heavy as renouncing her citizenship, maybe In 2015, a husband can arguably present his underage wife to vote afterall, as she is of ‘full age’ to marry, she is old enough to determine her future leader.
3 things finally set me off:
First, the unnecessary and divisive argument that this is a propaganda against the North by Southern Nigeria.
Do you think it is? I don’t think so.
The Northern situation is a cause for concern for any right-thinking Nigerian. And its amazing that everyone else can see it except the people involved. Yerima and his co defenders might call the West and South ‘hypocrites’ for not removing the logs of premarital sex, prostitution, abortion in their eyes before poking at his. But they might ask themselves which zone has the highest burden of underage girls sentenced to a life of VVF, little or no access to medical care without permission of their male lord and masters, under-achieveing girls in education (the recent cut off marks for federal common entrance is a well known fact), girls who have been told their only value in life is as a bride .
I saw this comment by a Kendra on diarybyemmy.com and it broke my heart
“As for d senate, I come from d north and Emmy dis story is deeper than d passing of dis bill or act or whatever. Small girls of between 4-9 yrs old pass in front of my house when returning from Islamiyya classes and all this children talk about is marriage, their husband’s houses, when they get married how they will cook, their fine fine marriage clothes etc. I live among PROFESSORS! Yes Professors! And these VERY EDUCATED MEN have married brides fresh off primary school. And as Islam permits four wives, they marry these girls when they r really young, suck out their youth and divorce them in time to make space for a new one. Most of them r divorced as teens or in their 20s.Right under my eyes my neighbour’s daughter was eating herself FAT so dat Alhaji will consider her unattractive and take back his marriage proposal but seeing that her mum has 8 kids from an Alhaji who is too old to take care of his children (you see d future of this trend?), d poor girl had to go. And this man is a top official in a FEDERAL university. He had just cleared up all his wives for this new blood. And when he divorces her, she will be referred to as “Bazaura” which is a derogatory term for female divorces in d north, most of which r absorbed into other men’s harems or used by men for extra marital sex. I live in a dirty society that uses religion to mask its sins. My poor north. It is well”… - See more at: http://diarybyemmy.com/losers-week-part-2/#comments
That is the legacy of the north to their young girls. And yet Yerima and Co do not see anything wrong in that?
Secondly, this opinion post on YNaija by a Habeeb Kolade who expunged all the English words in his vocabulary with this pompus statement: ‘The Child Not Bride campaign was uncalled for and insightfully a representation of our collective ignorance of the law binding the Nigerian society and also our unwillingness to seek proper knowledge when approached with these kinds of situations especially when our sense of reasoning had been murdered by sentiments’.
Guy, you are the one who has not done your homework.
Thirdly, the fact that it was Senator Yerima that raised the point in the senate meeting. If Senator Yerima a known child marriage practice, who isn’t a lawyer, and who I cant vouchsafe his educational status could foresee where/how this law could clash with entrenched Islamic practices then shouldn’t we all be wary? Can a fox advise a farmer how to protect his chickens?
There should never be ambiguity in the law. Section 4b is an ambiguous statement which should not exist in our law books. Laws are there to illuminate. To provide clarification.
(b) any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age is an ambiguous statement which begs the question ‘what is the marriageable age for women in Nigeria’?
Marriageable age or marriage age is the age at which a person is allowed by law to marry, either as a right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. And guess what? Nigeria’s marriageable age is 18.
Backed by 2 beautiful documents,
First The Nigerian Child right act 2003. There it is clearly stated that,
PART III — PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
21. No person under the age of 18 years is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and accordingly, a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
22.—(1) No parent, guardian or any other person shall betroth a child to any person.
(2) A betrothal in contravention of Subsection (1) of this section is null and void.
23. A person—
(a) who marries a child; or
(b) to whom a child is betrothed; or
(c) who promotes the marriage of a child; or
(d) who betroths a child commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of x500,000 (five hundred thousand Naira) or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Secondly by The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol.
The protocol was adopted by the African Union on 11 July 2003 at its second summit in Maputo, Mozambique. Of the 53 member countries in the African Union, the heads of states of 46 countries (including my dear Nigeria) signed the protocol, and as of July 2010, 28 of those countries had ratified and deposited the protocol (Nigeria included) meaning it is now an enforceable law.
Article 6 which is on Marriage states that
a) no marriage shall take place without the free and full consent of both parties;
b) the minimum age of marriage for women shall be 18 years;
Clearly, that ambiguous statement in section 29b should be DELETED like yesterday, because it goes against Nigerian Laws.
As for Sen. Yerima who cited religious practices as an excuse, I have neither seen any clause which says that Sharia law is allowed to prevail OVER the law of the Land nor did I see any addendum which allows marriage at a slightly younger age with parental or judicial approval like it happens in some other countries (marriage at minimum 15 years with parents/judicial approval).
Moreover Sir, your dishonorable self should have been impeached like yesterday based on contravention of Section 23A, C and D - Marriage to a 13yr old, boasting that you can give out your 6 yr old daughter in marriage if you wish , and the entire dishonorable rant above.
Lastly, Senator Yerima/Co might also pay heed to this wise woman, Judge Maryam Uwais and stop quoting the Holy Quran to suit their purposes.
“It is certainly not mandatory in Islam that girls must be married off as minors, so to keep insisting that this practice must remain sacrosanct, given the background of needs in Northern Nigeria, is incongruous, even under the Shari’a. Where a practice is determined to be merely permissible and not mandatory, it is considered practicable and entirely feasible within Islamic jurisprudence, to discourage or prohibit it, where it is found to be so harmful to individuals and to the community”. VanguardNews
The President, Senators, Governors, House of Assembly, Nigerian bar Association, Civil right activists, fellow Nigerians, this is simple really. We are not asking for anything new. It is already in our laws. Dear Lawmakers your job is to enforce it. Section 29, subsection 4b goes against The Child Right Act 2003 and The Maputo Protocol. Kindly Delete it. That’s all.
I think it is tragic and shameful that our lawmakers neither know the law nor can be entrusted to uphold it.